The Regular: Part 5
by Tairish

That next weekend Kim went and spent a good deal of her savings on some new, conservative clothes for work. As hard as it was to part with so much money, she had to admit that she seemed to be better received by clients new and old. But she still didn’t get that feeling of instant respect she had felt in New York that afternoon. She didn’t want to accept that a hairstyle could make such a difference, but all evidence supported that theory. She finally went to see her regular stylist, Jill, to find out if she could be taught to put her hair up into a French Twist herself (of course one without the three evils: curling, teasing, and spraying). She figured if she could learn that her problems would be solved. Jill tried to help, never even suggested doing anything remotely ‘evil’ to Kim’s hair. But it was a tremendous struggle for the stylist, as Kim had such thick, straight hair it didn’t want to hold. Only numerous and, at times, painfully tight pins could hold it in place. Kim noted it really didn’t look that good (certainly not like the ones Gail had done) and didn’t really feel stable either.

"Would hairspray make any difference?" she asked meekly, figuring that would be the lesser of the three evils. Diane said it would, but it would take a lot, and even then it probably wouldn’t hold for more than a few hours.

"Your hair has so much mass and weight it just tugs itself free. In fact all the tugging really isn’t good for it, so I’d advise against wearing your hair like this on a regular basis."

Kim could clearly feel the strain on her roots, and couldn’t imagine how painful this would be if left up all day, or even for just a part of the day. Gail’s creations never felt this way. She was thankful when the pins were removed and her hair flowed freely again. So much for the thought of putting it up daily. At least she could tell Dawn she tried if the subject were ever broached again.

The two then spent time playing with a variety of chignons, hoping they would stay up. The results were the same, the painful yanking at the roots, the perceived instability of the final product, and the fact they really didn’t look that good. None had the ‘professional’ look that she was after. Maybe she was doomed to look like a cheerleader.

When she got home she played with some different French Braids, playing with different parts vs. no part. While some seemed better than others nothing made her come across the way she had after a trip to ‘The Bella Donna’. And what frustrated her more (albeit a relieved frustration if there were such a thing) was the fact she couldn’t find even the slightest hint of damage from her most recent session at the hands of Gail, and she was trying quite hard to find some too. What she eventually conceded was that a version of a French Braid would have to do for her day to day business. However if something important came up that required her to put her hair up she figured she could survive having Gail put it up for her again. Just not very often so her hair could have plenty of time to ‘heal’. Of course she couldn’t imagine the necessity of putting it up more than once or twice per year. The first time came sooner than she could have imagined.

The Buchanan account was so important Dawn trusted it to no one but herself. Mark and Anne Buchanan were wealthy entrepreneurs who bought properties, had them fixed up and resold for a profit. They were well-known all across the state, and now they were looking to expand their empire with the help of this Real Estate firm. This could mean innumerable sales if shown the right properties and presented correctly.

But the Buchanans had to change the date they were in town, and it fell during the same week that Dawn would be out of the country on a vacation to Europe with her husband that had been planned for over a year. Reluctantly she called Kim to her office and closed the door. Kim was quite nervous, not sure if she were in trouble at this unexpected invitation.

"Mark and Anne Buchanan are coming to town the week of the 8th."

Kim knew well the significance of this date.

"Isn’t that the same week you…"

"…are in Europe. Yes it is. And there is no way I’m not going on this trip. Dave and I both really need it. We need to spend that time together."

Kim said nothing but knew there were rumors her boss’s marriage had been troubled lately, especially since her kids had gone off to college. This trip was hopefully going to provide a spark of romance designed to get it back on the right track.

Dawn continued. "Since I won’t be here, I thought I’d let you handle the Buchanan account while I’m gone."

Kim was stunned. She had felt passed over so many times. Now here she was being offered perhaps the most important assignment, and biggest opportunity of her life. "Thank you," is all she could think of saying. "I’ll try my best."

"Yes you will. I don’t need to say how big this could be for our firm. If you do a good job they could be repeat customers over and over again down the road. I expect your fullest commitment."

"Yes mam," she said, unsure exactly what that entailed.

"Besides showing them homes each day, you are to be at their beckon call all week. That could mean dinners, shows, parties, or just as a taxi service. Whatever they need. You can use my Mercedes during the week."

Kim felt her adrenaline surge. This would be hard but was ready for the challenge.

"I’ll get you a copy of my files on the account. You have only three weeks to know it like the back of your hand."

Kim nodded her head excitedly in anticipation. She did it so aggressively her French Braid came flying forward over her shoulder. Dawn stared at it for a split second.

"You need to be the consummate professional all week. That means conservative attire. Never show them up regardless of what you do or where you go with them. Unless you plan on cutting your hair, I expect it worn up and out of your way. The way you wore it in New York would be fine."

Kim swallowed hard a bit, but tried not to show any concern in front of her boss. However when she left the room she was already worrying about the logistics of having her hair up every day for a week.

There was no doubt in her mind that her only option was to have Gail put it up for her. She had already given Jill the chance to put her hair up and that had been a bust. While she still supported her decision that an occasional visit to ‘The Bella Donna’ was within reason, this was different. This called for her to have her hair up every day for a week. Seven days! How many times that week would she have to watch her hair attacked by the teasing comb and the hairspray canister? Stomaching the procedure once was difficult. Watching it as many as…SEVEN DAYS IN A ROW would summon all her courage. She recalled her third visit to Gail, and how she left it up for two days that time. She remembered the whole hairspray overdose adventure, and then started recalling her horrible nightmare where her hair was destroyed by daily visits to the salon. Would that dream now become reality? She lovingly stroked her long braid, wondering how it could possibly survive the week of torture.

During her lunch break she drove to ‘The Bella Donna’ knowing she would need to make early appointments for that week and hoping Gail would be available. Once in the door she learned Gail was on her lunch break but should be back momentarily. She passed the time talking with Diane. Her hair was down again, once more looking her age. However it still had a retro look to it, as it was parted on the side and had some gentle waves going throughout it, with the ends curved under in a thick curl. Plus the crown rose an inch or two above her scalp, clearly the result of some ambitious teasing, and the whole thing was locked in place with a good layer of hairspray as it was unaffected by the breeze entering the shop each time the front door was opened. Kim hated the thought of how the style was accomplished, and what it felt like, but it was quite flattering on Diane. What was amazing to Kim was how healthy the receptionist’s hair still looked. By now she had figured all the torture would be clearly noticeable, but it wasn’t. It also didn’t look any shorter either (taking into account the waves and the curled ends). Kim was still mystified wondering if all she had been told about what was good vs. bad for hair was untrue, or if Diane was just an exception, or if the stylists in this particular shop were just so good they were the exception?!

Gail was soon back in the shop and Kim explained her dilemma to her.

"I really don’t have a Monday morning opening, but I’ll come in at 7:30 A.M. again for you if you wish."

"Thank you! I’d really appreciate it." Then Kim summoned the courage to ask the question that was burning at her mind. "What about the other mornings?"

"What about them?"

"Do you have any early morning openings the rest of the week?"

"I thought you needed it up starting on that Monday."

"Yes, but I need to wear it up all week. Doesn’t that mean I’ll need to come in… several times?"

"Are you planning on wearing different styles each day or something?"

"Oh No! No. Just that same French Twist you’ve been doing." (Kim was so frightened by all this the thought of trying something different, and potentially more damaging to her hair was the furthest from her mind.)

"In that case you’ll only need one appointment."

It took Kim a bit to understand what Gail was suggesting. "You mean just leave it up all week?!"

"Sure! My regulars do it all the time. Just give it a quick shot of spray each morning and before you go to bed at night and it should be just fine. Of course you can’t go swimming or get it wet, but besides that it will hold just fine."

The thought of wielding the hairspray canister again wasn’t exactly a pleasant thought, but she still couldn’t believe her hair could stay up for seven full days no matter how much spray was caked on it.

"It really can stay up for a whole week looking … smooshed or something. Remember I have a lot of hair." She held her braid out to her side for evidence.

"Absolutely. I believe I told you about Jeannette."

Kim couldn’t recall.

"My Regular with hair to her knees. She wears it up all week all the time."

Kim remembered, though still couldn’t believe the whole tail.

"Won’t that … damage… my hair, leaving it all teased and stuff for a week?"

"I don’t see why."

This line of questioning continued until Kim couldn’t think of any more to ask. She pointed out how absolutely imperative it was that her hair be perfect all week. Gail constantly reassured her, and finally Kim left the shop with just that one appointment scheduled. Now she wondered how she could possibly endure the oddity of wearing an updo all week. She was sure it would drive her crazy and counting the minutes before she could take it down.

She called Michael and told him all of what had happened that day. He was ecstatic for her opportunity and an endless sea of questions. He also wanted to help out any way he could.

"Just understand that I might not get to see you at all that week."

Michael had already figured as much, though he was disappointed he might not get to see her in that French Twist again. The few occasions he had seen her with her hair up so enraptured him he was hopeful he would experience that thrill again. Of course he never said so, knowing how dead set against it she was. It wasn’t worth the risk to her hair for Kim, and since he absolutely adored her long hair it wasn’t worth the risk to him either.

As the week approached Kim studied the Buchanan files diligently and soon knew them better than Dawn, as she was quizzed by her boss at some point almost on a daily basis. So fearful of the potential damage her week-long updo was going to cause, she did nothing but wear her hair down loose and free for the weeks leading to the client’s arrival. She didn’t even want to submit it to the stress of a braid or pony-tail. Dawn seemed disappointed by this, and eventually point blank questioned her if she was going to wear it up for the assignment. Kim confirmed that her salon appointment had been set for weeks. She wasn’t looking forward to it though, and probably spent more time adoring, brushing, and just looking at her hair during the weekend prior to her appointment than any time in memory. She was sure it would never be the same, and almost felt like she was bidding it farewell.

The sun was just peeking out on the horizon as Kim stepped into ‘The Bella Donna,’ dressed in her most conservative ‘Execu-drag’. Her hair was flowing free and gorgeous behind her, though she realized it would be a while before she would experience that joy again.

Gail was waiting for her, putting a quick layer of spray on her own hair. Much to Kim’s surprise, it was not up in a ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ flip. Instead it was in and updo this time, clearly teased but very soft. The top was a curly swirl of a bun that, although it also towered higher than anything currently in vogue, also had a softness to it (no easy trick considering how much spray was probably caked on it). It was such an absolutely beautiful look that Kim momentarily forgot what she was going to say. But then she snapped back into reality and once more grilled her stylist for confirmation that her Twist would stay up all week, this time wondering if it meant any more severe backcombing or such. She was reassured the only difference would be the necessity of the twice daily layer of spray. Gail asked if she had enough hairspray left at home. When she was informed it had been thrown away, the stylist went over and took a large canister off the counter.

"I don’t think I’ll need that much for just a week," Kim proclaimed. She was hopeful this was a true statement.

"The large size is on sale, so it really isn’t any more than the small size. Besides, it doesn’t go bad or anything, so you might as well have it. You never know when you might need it."

How true that statement was proving to be, thought Kim, as she heard the water sprayer come to life and Gail started washing her long locks. The session had begun, again. Never would Kim ever have guessed that she would be in this salon, having this done to her hair, for a fifth time. Yet here she was. Would there be a sixth? The way things were going, probably. But how many times after that?

As she sat watching her hair rolled in the huge curlers, Kim couldn’t take her eyes off Gail’s beautiful updo. It didn’t look like a ‘bouffant’ although it clearly was. Kim always connoted a ‘bouffant’ with old-time country-western singers who years ago wore huge, outlandish, ridiculous styles that would not only be a joke today but probably were back then too. The dimensions of Gail’s style were clearly big, but the look, at least on her, was absolutely elegant.

"I really love what you’ve done with your hair today. It looks …beautiful."

"Thank you. I had a bit of insomnia this morning so I threw this together. It did come out looking quite nice."

Kim was almost disappointed that such a style required hair so much shorter than her own.

"I don’t suppose you could ever arrange my hair so it looked like that?" Kim was startled to discover that these words had escaped from her own lips.

"Actually I could. Is that what you’d like me to do?"

Kim’s world was spinning. First she didn’t believe she asked the question, which must have been rooted by some desire somewhere, and then getting a positive confirmation that it was possible.

Kim stared at the hairstyle, actually considering the idea. But then she shook her head. Besides the fact that she didn’t want to take the risk with her hair (so far it had survived the French Twist, but would it survive this different style? It was huge, after all, even compared with her requested style. Surely it would require her even more extreme mistreatment of her hair. It would certainly take a toil on her tresses. ), it was really too dressy for her weeklong assignment.

"No thank you, but maybe some other time."

SOME OTHER TIME!!! What was she saying?! Was she just being polite? Did she mean it? She was led to the dryer a bit dazed and confused. Since no one was there to talk to, she just sat contemplating her thoughts, hardly noticing the other stylists arriving for work, and the first clients entering the door. She did smile at Diane though, whose hair was once again drawn up in another old-fashioned styles combining a twist with curls. Still, Diane managed to pull it off just fine. Although it made her look a good ten years older than she was, she still looked wonderful.

Then Kim just cleared her mind and observed the activity in the shop. It was strange to her how inside the walls of this shop getting one’s hair ‘done’ each week was life as usual for these people. They were happy, smiling, talking to friends and acquaintances (though if they were all Regulars she figured they all probably knew one another by now). Talk was lively and animated. It was more to these people than just getting their hair done. It was a social time, it was a time to relax, it was a time to be pampered, it was a time to recharge for whatever was to come in the week. She could see how, for an older person, this could be one of the highlights of the week and be an enjoyable experience. Of course that only applied to those with shorter hair, not concerned about risking a bit of damage to their locks in exchange for the benefits. But for someone like Kim, whose long hair was definitely at risk each time she entered the door, she couldn’t imagine ever feeling comfortable in a place like this. She was already dreading the awful teasing which was to come all too soon.

It was at this point she noticed Gail’s next client sit in her chair. She was a middle aged lady, probably in her mid to late 40’s, with her Auburn hair already up in a huge involved updo piled high with curls. It was parted in the middle, but obviously teased thoroughly throughout to produce a good amount of lift at the roots. While Kim wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such an outrageous style herself, even as a Halloween gag, this lady pulled it off quite convincingly. It just somehow, strangely, seemed to fit her. It also looked like it had just been created, and Kim wondered what she was possibly having done.

Gail and the client immediately dove into a friendly conversation as the salon robe was put around her, and Kim gathered that she must be a Regular. Then, much to Kim’s surprise, Gail started undoing the style, unpinning one of the huge curls and unrolling it.

And unrolling it. And unrolling it! AND UNROLLING IT! AND UNROLLING IT!

Kim was aghast to see the strand, although the spray was still trying to keep it in a curl and it obviously was teased the complete length, hanging far down the chair even longer than her own hair! She sat mesmerized watching pin after pin removed and more long sections join the first. In a matter of minutes it was all down, and while it was a tangled mess (just as hers looked when she would take down her French Twist) it was an even bigger tangled mess than her own, as it was clearly longer. Yet the client just chatted and smiled, like it was no big deal.

Then the two disappeared in the back to the washing area. Kim anxiously awaited her return. When they did, she was able to watch Gail expertly ‘untease’ and smooth out the woman’s bountiful mane. She couldn’t believe how fast she worked, as the whole thing was finished in no more than 15 minutes. It took Kim over an hour with her own hair, and even then she feared she was rushing it. The resulting mane of hair, even wet, was magnificent, just reaching the floor as the client sat in the chair. It was easily a foot longer than Kim’s. Probably more. Yet it looked very healthy, and looked no thinner at the ends than it did at the roots.

Then Gail started right in rolling the hair up on curlers several sizes smaller the ones Kim now wore., and in a very different pattern. Soon the woman was ready for the dryer. Kim secretly hoped it would be one next to her, only to discover they were both already occupied. She had been so fixated on this long-haired lady she hadn’t even noticed what was going on beside her.

About ten minutes later Kim was guided back to Gail’s chair, and the curlers started coming out. At first Kim was quiet, watching the still unfamiliar image of herself in curls unfurl in the mirror. But when the last rollers came out, and Gail started brushing them into waves, she couldn’t help but ask about what she had just seen.

"That woman, the one with the real long hair…"

"You mean Jeannette?"

That was Jeannette?! Of course, it had to be. But that meant she was a Regular! But that was impossible! Wasn’t it?!

"That’s Jeannette? You mentioned she was a regular client."

"First thing every Monday. Has been for years."

"Does she always have her hair done so….? Like that?"

"No, not always like that."

Kim was relieved to hear that Jeannette didn’t subject herself to such torture each week.

"Usually she’ll wear one look for a couple of weeks, and then we’ll do something else. Sometimes something much more toned down, and sometimes pretty wild!"

Kim couldn’t imagine how much more extreme ‘pretty wild’ could be compared to what she had just seen.

"That style she came in with looked wild to me."

"That one? That was about an average look for her."

"Average! You’re kidding?! But it looks so healthy and all! I can’t believe doing that each week hasn’t ruined it."

Gail set down her brush on the counter and just stared at Kim. "Remember Dear, that’s my job, and why she comes to me in the first place. I have no intention of damaging her hair, just as I have no intention of damaging yours."

It was said with such unbelievable honesty and confidence that Kim almost could believe it. Almost. Because at that very moment Gail picked up her teasing comb and started in on the top of her head. ‘Oh God, here we go again!" Kim said to herself, trying not to look at what was happening. But she couldn’t help herself, and watched wide-eyed as the mass of knots was produced the complete length of the strand. Her hair was so beautiful, either straight or with all these waves. But would it survive a week as a teased, stiff mass, or would the damage be so severe she would have no choice but to cut it? She recalled her mid-back length hair as a child, and how short even that would seem now. Then she recalled her two recent nightmares. The one with her hair a badly damaged, broken, and tattered remnant of what it was now, and the other of her sitting bald in the barber’s chair, her French Braid, intact, lying on her lap. She could feel hers eyes starting to well up, and hoped she wouldn’t cry in front of Gail.

Gail started throwing the finished sections forward again, blinding her client. She obviously knew how disturbing it was for Kim to watch, so she made sure she didn’t have to. Kim somehow kept the tears from flowing but winced with each downward thrust of the stylist’s comb, as if they were blows from a hammer driving nails into a coffin. She knew all too well what was happening to her crowning glory, and was convinced its previous escapes from the harm of this act had been just coincidence. Today, this was a carnage she couldn’t possibly be lucky enough to escape unscathed. She tried to take her mind off what was happening, but found herself counting the strokes of the teasing comb. However once she got into the hundreds, and noticed Gail hadn’t even started in on the back yet, she just became more anguished.

Once the teasing was finally done Gail turned the chair 90 degrees, then set into duplicating the French Twist Kim had worn three times previously. With the chair turned Kim couldn’t see any of the process at all. She was almost surprised when Gail was finished and the hairspray was applied. Her last time in the salon had been with Jill, and she remembered how painful her version of this style had tugged. Here with Gail there was absolutely no discomfort. Except for the fact there was nothing against her neck and falling down her back, it was nearly impossible to feel it was up at all.

Mercifully the spray was finally silent, and Kim was turned to be greeted by her reflection in the mirror. At first she worried the top seemed too high, but decided it seemed so only compared to the way Jill had tried to do it. She realized it was exactly the same as her previous visits. When the cape was removed she noticed the complete picture now as her conservative outfit could now be seen. She looked every bit the ‘consummate professional’, just as Dawn had insisted. She instinctively touched her hair. As she feared is was once again the consistency of a hard shell. She wondered how she could possibly tolerate this for more than even one day. This week would be a huge test of her willpower.

She started heading for the door. She noticed Jeannette, contentedly sitting under the dryer, smiled at her. She smiled back. As she started paying Diane she was tapped on the shoulder. It was Gail.

"You almost forgot this."

She set the huge can of hairspray down on the counter. It thudded like the sound of a tomb being closed.

"Oh yeah. Thanks."

Actually Kim wasn’t sure if she was thankful or not. She wasn’t looking forward to this evening when she’d have to apply more of this awful substance to her already heavily lacquered hair. And then twice a day, every day for a week. As Kim paid and tipped her stylist, she was already dreading Sunday, when she would take what was left of her hair down and see what this week truly cost her.

Kim sat in her boss’s Mercedes hyper-ventilating a bit: her heart pounding as she looked at her reflection, her hand gently exploring the rigid surface. It was a total helmet: stiff everywhere. She felt nauseous. Just when she thought she got a grip on things she saw the can of spray sitting on the seat beside her. She dreaded what her hair would feel like by the end of the week if it felt this horrible already. Twelve more layers of hairspray were still to come before she could take it down Sunday night. That seemed so far away now.

She put the can in her purse, and took a couple of deep breathes. The worst part had been done to her locks already, so there was no use getting upset now. She had a job to do, and an important one at that. She had to forget about her hair until Sunday.

Until Sunday.

Kim met Mark and Anne Buchanan at the airport. They were easy to spot as they looked just like their photos, though both were a bit more ‘rotund’ then she anticipated. Not fat by any stretch of the imagination, but life had been good to them and it showed. They were also the first ones off the plane as a result of being in the front of the first class section. They were a handsome couple, he in a stylish suit and she in a bright fashion that probably cost more than Kim made in a month.

While they were both at first uneasy about working with someone other than Dawn, they immediately took to Kim and the day went quite smoothly. Kim felt this air of immediate acceptance, just as she had felt in New York, and knew evidence was again piling up suggesting that her present appearance definitely made a difference. She was glad Dawn let her use the Mercedes as it was much more comfortable than her own compact Ford, especially considering how much time would be spent driving in the car. By the time Kim finally got home it was nearly 9 P.M. and she was exhausted. She couldn’t wait to take a shower and go to bed. Then she remembered her updo, a bit disappointed that wouldn’t be possible, and poured herself a bath instead. She had been so busy all day that she hadn’t really thought about her hair. Unlike the French Twist that Jill created that tugged at her scalp, this one was so comfortable it was easy to forget it was up at all. She was also quite used to her appearance already from constantly seeing the reflection in the mirrors of every home she showed that day. But each time she touched the lacquered surface brought back her anxieties concerning the rough treatment she was putting her tresses through.

As the bathwater poured she stood in front of her mirror, gathering up the courage to put down a layer of spray on her ‘do. She thought about putting it off for today as her hair felt every bit as shellacked as it had that morning, but she didn’t want to risk her Twist falling apart so early in the week. Finally she took a deep breath, squinted her eyes and pushed the nozzle. The awful mist shot out and in moments her whole head was slightly damp again from the product. She quickly put the can away, happy to be done with that chore for the evening. Then she cautiously slipped into the tub, making sure no water got near her neck or head, and started mentally planning for the next day. Afterwards she got a quick nibble to eat and talked to Michael about her day with the Buchanans.

"So there wasn’t any problems considering they were used to dealing with Dawn?" he asked.

"No, they seemed to accept me pretty much right away."

"Did you have your hair done again this morning?"

"Yeah, in that same Twist I had before." She touched it for the first time since she sprayed it, concerned that it felt even crustier now. "I don’t know how I’m going to stand having it up all week."

"It’s one week. You’ll make it. Gail did say it wouldn’t hurt it to keep it up so long, right?"

"That’s what she said, but we’ll see. I can’t believe all this continual torture won’t have some negative impact on it."

"Try not to think about it." (That was easy for him to say, she thought. He wasn’t the one wearing a knotted helmet on his head all week.)

Later she slipped into bed trying to fall asleep in an abnormally disciplined position. She was concerned that her normal restless sleep patterns would prove the undoing of Gail’s work. But eventually her exhaustion won out and she was out until her alarm rang out much too early the next morning.

She wasn’t quite prepared for the reflection of her updo, still perfectly intact despite her normal sleep patterns, as the disarray of her bed proved was the case. How she longed to take it down right now, but instead she reluctantly picked up the can of spray. It still felt horrendously stiff. She seriously considered holding off on the product until the evening. However since she wasn’t a risk taker, the spray was soon ringing out again, and in moments her ‘do was coated. She was trembling as she set the canister down, glad that was over. At least until she’d have to repeat it again that night, and then tomorrow morning, and evening, etc…

Tuesday with the Buchanans was another long one, all business. She got home even later that night, and poured herself another bath. She missed taking an invigorating shower. Sunday night’s would feel so good. She suffered through another layer of hairspray, again questioning why the stiff shell even needed reinforcement. She couldn’t wait to have her smooth, luscious locks flowing free around her again.

The good news was the Buchanans planned to sleep in tomorrow morning, and wouldn’t start the day until noon. Kim decided to pop into the office and take care of some other business in the meantime. A quick call to Michael and then she was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

She was awake before the morning alarm, still not used to be greeted by her reflection with the updo. It still looked fine, not a pin out of place and entirely comfortable. Of course it still felt horrible to the touch. She added her morning layer of spray to the style, and soon she was off to the office.

She momentarily forgot how long it had been since the last time her co-workers saw her with her hair up, but their constant positive comments reminded her. She didn’t explain why she had put it up again, but knew starting next week she’d have to hear the inevitable "When are you going to put your hair up again?" question.

While still requiring double takes each time she passed a mirror, she was now quite at ease working with the style. Quite honestly it was easier to work with her hair up, never worrying about catching it on anything, or pushing it out of her way, or even the constant slight tugging from everyday acts like leaning against it in a chair, etc… It was unfortunate that she couldn’t easily put it up on her own each day, as she could certainly get used to the advantages of the updo.

That day the Buchanans started in on some purchases from the previous two days (which is what they discussed that morning together. Hence, the late start to the day). Kim knew Dawn would be thrilled, and she still had the rest of the week to go.

That evening she got home tired but happy. She poured her bath and as it filled plastered her hair again. She recalled how bad it had felt those many months ago when she went psychotic with the spray and wondering if it really felt any better now. Then she enjoyed a very long bubble bath which totally relaxed her, talking with Michael all the while. Now this part she could get used to, even if her hair wasn’t up. She decided she’d have to start experimenting with different bath products. She certainly would have the money from the sizable commission this week would provide. That would be nice.

Thursday came quickly although she slept well. Her hair was perfect, again, and still radically stiff, again. As she administered her morning layer of spray she realized she was no longer squinting and stressing, though she still hated and feared doing it.

It was another bountiful day with the Buchanans, with more sales and a couple of homes she was certain they would also purchase after talking over it that evening. By now she was totally comfortable in her hairdo, and quite used to her reflection. The week had gone so well, not just at work but everywhere. She started sensing people everywhere treating her with more respect and attention. Was it her demeanor? She hoped so. It couldn’t just be for how she looked! But again evidence was pointing that way. Was Dawn right, that she came across too much like a ‘cheerleader’ to be taken seriously on a day to day basis? All she knew is that she really enjoyed the way this week was going.

Her bath that evening was an absolute delight. She put on some music, lit some candles, chatted with Michael and sipped some wine. It was a treat. The only bad part was applying more spray to her hair. It had been stiff for so long now Kim almost forgot what it really felt like. As the week was coming to an end she started thinking about Sunday and taking down her ‘do. She wondered what she would find. Would she be lucky as in the past, or would the odds finally catch up with her? The bright side is she had made a lot of money this week, and hopefully there would be more to come.

The next two days went splendidly, and she even got home early enough on Saturday for Michael to take her out to a movie. In the lobby she ran across some realtor friends who didn’t even recognize her at first. They immediately asked if she had cut her hair in such a tone that they would be clearly disappointed if she had. She had forgotten how much he liked seeing her with her hair up, but constantly caught him watching her instead of the screen, despite the fact it was a great film. Afterwards she called his bluff, to which he bashfully conceded how much he liked the was she looked with her hair up. He found the change very sexy. He also was surprised that it still looked so good after being in place for this long. She informed him that all the hairspray was keeping it in place, and allowed him to touch it. From just one touch of the stiff shell Michael could easily understand her concerns about the updo. It felt nothing like her locks normally felt. Yet strangely even the feel of it had an allure to it, sort of like touching a piece of sculpture or something. His hands for some reason wanted to touch it, though he restrained himself.

"Isn’t it uncomfortable by now having it all pinned up for so long?"

Kim hadn’t thought twice about it for days now. "Actually, not at all. I can’t even feel the pins."

That evening the two had long and passionate sex. Kim didn’t know where Michael got all his extra energy but the two were both entirely spent as a result. Kim noted Michael was constantly patting her hair, and didn’t quite no what to make of it. Perhaps he didn’t know what to do with his hands, as usually they were enmeshed in her long tresses, but she did notice that upon contact with her hair he almost immediately was sparked with a surge of sexual energy. Afterwards she checked to make sure it was undamaged from the proceedings, aware that she hadn’t sprayed it that night yet. Fortunately all their intensity had done no harm to it in the slightest. Almost non-shalant ly she gave it her evening coating before returning to her lover. She instructed him he couldn’t touch it for a while until it dried.

Finally Sunday came, and after a long session of paperwork with the Buchanans she took them to the airport and bid them farewell. It had been a banner week, far more productive then her wildest dreams, and a commission check that would take quite a while to spend.

As she headed home she touched her hair and was brought down from cloud nine. It was time to take it down and bear witness to the carnage that surely would show itself. As she drove she was constantly touching it, grasping how truly awful it felt after layer upon layer of spray. As she got closer to home, her pulse quickened and her breathing became labored.

She ran to her bedroom, anxious to start the deconstruction of her week-old ‘do. The pins reluctantly slipped out, and ever so gently she started unrolling the bulk of the Twist. It stubbornly refused, and after making sure there were no more pins keeping it in place, she stepped into her shower and let the water and gravity help her out. She was extremely cautious with how she handled it, even more so that her first experiences with ‘unteasing’, yet even so it still was less than an hour and her mane was once again detangled and flowing free down her back. She didn’t see any damaged hairs, nor any broken hairs in her comb or on the floor. The ends looked fine too. Although she’d have to wait until the morning when it was fully dry to be sure, it apparently had survived this abuse too, fully intact.

She nervously went to sleep, dreading that the morning, when it was dry, would display the real, awful truth.

Yet in the morning a long, intense scrutiny of her hair revealed nothing but a mane of perfect health. She sat both relieved and mystified, enjoying the feel of the silky smooth tresses against her skin. All week she inspected it, and all week the results were the same.

When Dawn returned from her vacation, which proved to be exactly the kind of boost her marriage needed, the news of Kim’s success made her nearly cry with joy. She called the Buchanans and chatted, getting rave reviews for Kim and her professionalism, and that they were looking forward to future dealings with the firm.

She was so happy with Kim that she hugged her, and even commented on how nice her hair looked that day. Since it was flowing free down her back with only some clips in front keeping it out of her face, that was a big deal to Kim. The clips were something new though. After going a week without fussing about hair in her eyes, it seemed a little bothersome now constantly pushing it out of her sightlines. Thus, the clips.

Kim was relieved that she had made it through the week, made a bundle of money, made her boss happy, and hadn’t destroyed her hair. Hopefully she wouldn’t have to put it at risk again for quite some time.

‘Quite some time’ would come very, very soon.


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